Don’t: Hit the gym full force
“Working out [hard] when you’re tired is a waste of time if you don’t have the energy to keep up with your regular routine,” says William Suggs, a certified personal trainer and licensed sports nutritionist in New York City. Instead, focus on light cardio like walking, biking, or the elliptical, which lets your arms help propel you through the workout. If you must pump some iron, stay away from free weights and stick to circuit machines, which are specifically designed to protect you from injury, says Suggs.
Speaking of injury, you’re more likely to tweak a muscle or cramp up when you’re tired, especially your back. “You’re more prone to injury when you’re fatigued because it’s harder to focus on your workout and on engaging your core, which stabilizes you,” says Suggs.
Eat a piece of fruit for a healthy pre-workout energy rush. “You won’t feel jittery but the simple sugars will keep your tank going,” says Suggs. Here are some medical reasons you could be tired all the time.
Don’t: Guzzle caffeinated beverages
Knocking back coffees all day may seem like the best way to power through a slumpy Monday. But not only will you crash and feel sluggish once the caffeine boost wears off, keep in mind that caffeine has a half-life of up to five hours; this means that five hours later about half of what you ingested remains in your system. “You won’t feel that surge of energy but your brain knows caffeine is there, which can impact your ability to sleep at night,” says Daniel Barone, MD, a sleep expert at Weill Cornell Center for Sleep Medicine at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. His rule of thumb: Cut off caffeine consumption after 1 p.m.
Next time you’re dragging, swap out your afternoon java for a stick of peppermint gum. Peppermint stimulates nerves in your brain responsible for feeling awake and alert, Alan Hirsch of the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation told menshealth.com. Here are some other better ways to give yourself an energy boost.